Michael Jordan Called Gordon Hayward to Secure Star's Contract with Hornets

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIINovember 21, 2020

Boston Celtics' Gordon Hayward (20) brings the ball up against the Charlotte Hornets during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. The Celtics won 108-87. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
Bob Leverone/Associated Press

It might seem like a guaranteed four-year, $120 million contract offer from the Charlotte Hornets would be enough for an athlete to sign on the dotted line with no questions asked. Gordon Hayward, it turns out, needed a little nudge.

Before Hayward and the Hornets reportedly agreed to the massive deal, it took a call from Charlotte chairman Michael Jordan to win the small forward over.

According to ESPN's Zach Lowe, Jordan called Hayward on Friday night as rumors circulated about a sign-and-trade that would have sent the Indianapolis native to the Indiana Pacers for $100 million. The call from Jordan helped close the deal and put the Butler product on a path to Charlotte.

It's not the first time the Hornets have tried to lure Hayward over.

In 2014, Jordan had the then-Utah Jazz star signed to an offer sheet worth a reported $63 million for four years. During the prior season, Hayward averaged 16.2 points, 5.2 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game.

Six years and one major ankle injury later, a 30-year-old Hayward is finally on his way to Charlotte after averaging 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. The forward opted out of a $34.2 million salary with the Celtics to reach free agency.

Amazingly, it paid off.

Gordon will earn an average of $30 million over each of the next four seasons rather than take a slightly larger payday for 2020-21 and test free agency ahead of his age-31 season.

And it still took a six-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer to call him to complete the deal.

The combination might make Hayward the most successful free agent in the league this offseason.


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